Formerly conjoined twin undergoes third follow-up surgery

Friday, August 23rd 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ A Guatemalan girl once joined at the head to her twin sister was awake and active after surgery to remove blood collecting on her brain, the third such operation since she and her sister were surgically separated.

Maria Teresa Quiej Alvarez was listed in serious condition after the 90-minute operation Thursday, and hospital officials said it was unlikely blood would accumulate on her brain again.

``She came up from the operating room with her eyes open,'' said Dr. Andy Madikians, the attending physician in the pediatric intensive care unit at Mattel Children's Hospital at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Maria Teresa had undergone similar operations on Aug. 6 and Aug. 16. The latest surgery removed blood from a location toward the back of her brain that had been too sensitive during the earlier operations.

Her sister, Maria de Jesus, remained in serious condition with stable vital signs.

The girls were separated in a 22-hour operation on Aug. 6. They had been born in rural Guatemala attached at the top of the skull and facing opposite directions. They had separate brains but shared bone and blood vessels in the head. Cases like theirs occur in fewer than one in 2.5 million live births.